Jays crushed by Orioles in series finale

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Kevin Gausman had better starts in his first season with the Blue Jays.

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In fact, that would apply to everyone after what happened Thursday afternoon at Rogers Center against the Baltimore Orioles.

In his shortest start to 2022 after signing a five-year, US$110 million deal with the Jays last December, Gausman (5-6) lasted just 2 1/3 innings before manager Charlie Montoyo has not witnessed it enough.

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By the time the ball was passed to reliever David Phelps, Gausman had been lit in the third for five hits, including three doubles, and five runs. Another run was charged to Gausman when the second batter Phelps faced, Jorge Mateo, hit an RBI single.

The Orioles got more than they needed, claiming a 10-2 victory in front of a disappointed crowd of 36,832.

“Tough day at the ballpark,” Gausman said of his performance.

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“It’s embarrassing, to be honest, to come out and do this against a team that I think we should beat. It might sound bad to say, but I think we should beat them more than we should lose. against them.

“Aiming for a series win, and doing that is unacceptable. Place the bullpen in a difficult location. It just sucks. It’s something that never happens to me, but when it does, you feel like shit.

That the Jays had to settle for a split in the four-game series against the Orioles, last in the American League East, was bad enough; Worse, the New York Yankees, who had a nine-game lead over the Jays for first place in the AL East before Thursday’s games, come to town for a three-game set starting Friday.

If the Jays are looking for a measuring stick, the Yankees will be happy to provide it.

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Pitching for the first time against the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2012, Gausman was hit hard and often by the Orioles in third, starting with Cedric Mullins, who started with a single.

A field error by third baseman Santiago Espinal didn’t help, but Gausman wasn’t effective either way. Three of the Orioles’ next five batters have doubled. Six of the Orioles’ first seven batters scored, and by the time Phelps called on Austin Hays to fly out to end the top of the inning, 11 Orioles were at the plate.

The five earned runs were the most allowed by Gausman, who recorded three strikeouts, in one of his 13 starts this season. The previous high was three. And the seven runs he allowed were the most against him in more than three years.

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“Usually it’s something mechanical, something small that in-game I can make an adjustment and understand,” Gausman said. “For some reason in that third I just couldn’t make the adjustment. I felt like I was a bit too fast. So I tried to stay back and then I stay almost too long back.

Other than a solo home run by Teoscar Hernandez with two outs in the fourth, the Jays offense couldn’t provide anything substantial against Orioles starter Tyler Wells (4-4). Wells went six innings, scattering five hits and striking out three before giving way to Nick Vespi.

The Orioles scored two runs off Jeremy Beasley in the seventh, highlighted by a triple RBI from Rougned Odor, and added another in the eighth when Austin Hays hit a left with one out on Matt Gage.

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Alejandro Kirk hit an RBI single in the eighth for the Jays’ second inning.

An indication that, perhaps, this was not going to be Gausman’s day came in the first inning, when Mullins, in the lead, chose right field. Mullins finally scored, setting the stage for what was to come in the third.

“He wasn’t commanding all of his throws,” Montoyo said of Gausman. “We’re trying to see what it is, what’s going on with him. Hopefully we can get him back to where he was at the start of the year.

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CHAPMAN OUT

After homering in back-to-back games for the first time this season, third baseman Matt Chapman was a spectator with wrist pain.

It’s the same minor ailment that kept him out of three straight games before returning to the lineup on Tuesday.

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“I went to the (batting’s) cage and he said he couldn’t go,” Montoyo said. “I don’t think it’s that bad. One thing about the wrist is that if you don’t rest it, it can linger. We’ll see what it is.

Chapman’s home run on Wednesday was his ninth in 2022. All, oddly enough, came at the Rogers Center.

Chapman has hit .327 (17 for 52) in his last 14 games after hitting .187 in his first 44 games.

“Our line-up is much better with him, that’s a fact,” Montoyo said.

DIAMOND DUST

George Springer had a day off scheduled. Springer was 0 for 5 on Wednesday, ending a 24-game on-base streak, the longest active streak in the majors … The Jays’ 10th-inning victory Wednesday was their 16th win in one-run games, the most in the majors. Last year, Toronto won 15 total one-point games… Ross Stripling, who leaves for the Jays on Friday against the Yankees, is 0-4 in a career against New York (including three starts) with an ERA of 4.50.

tkoshan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/koshtorontosun

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